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The power of collaboration: promoting information literacy skills in a Primary Initial Teacher Education course - Sarah Purcell & Rachel Barrell


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The power of collaboration: promoting information literacy skills in a Primary Initial Teacher Education course - Sarah Purcell & Rachel Barrell

  1. 1. The Power of Collaboration Promoting IL skills in a Primary ITE course Sarah Purcell Academic Liaison Librarian Rachel Barrell Course Leader, Primary ITE 24th April 2014
  2. 2. A few facts and figures Established in 1946: emergency teacher training college Became University of Worcester in 2005 Only HE institution in Herefordshire and Worcestershire Expansion: City Campus, The Hive library, the Arena Nearly 10000 students 368 Primary UG ITE students 39 Primary ITE teaching staff 1 Institute of Education librarian
  3. 3. It began with…. a meeting • Summer 2010 • External examiner feedback “However many students are unclear about the Harvard system in particular using inappropriate sources often cited from the internet and failing to follow conventions for direct and indirect quotes in text.” Mills, 2009 • Student comments to staff • Transition into HE • Academic writing – referencing, sources, searching
  4. 4. Opportunities Sarah – PG Certificate Teaching & Learning in HE Action research: Problem Intervention Evaluation/ Reflection Improve
  5. 5. The research title and objectives What is the impact of an information skills teaching programme on first-year students’ confidence in and development of these skills? • To evaluate what support was needed by new students, in what preferred medium and to what level (transition); • To examine whether this level of input from the librarian is sustainable, given their current role, and propose ideas for managing this.
  6. 6. Pre-intervention surveys Year 3: First year induction, then final year support with projects Little awareness of sources beyond books Unsure about referencing Lack of timely support Year 1:  A-Levels, Access to HE and everything in between  Inadvertent plagiarism, essay writing skills  Expectations and lack of confidence
  7. 7. Teaching programme: 2010-11 Semester 1: Session Content Week 4 (Welcome Week) Induction (tours also scheduled throughout the week) Whole cohort introduction to the library service including websites for further support and information. Introduction to action research project and ethics. Content: Demonstration of accessing a journal article, selected by the course leader and librarian. Tutors facilitated a seminar later that week in which students were expected to have accessed and read the article, and be prepared to discuss its content. Directed study: academic study scenarios to consider for Week 5’s session. Week 5 (first teaching week) Referencing One hour session with each of the five groups of app 28 students. Content: discussion of set task from previous week. Teaching and activities focused on Harvard referencing. Directed study: Citing and referencing activity to be completed and submitted to librarian Week 6 Plagiarism One hour session with each of the five groups of app 28 students. Content: feedback re week 5’s task. Defined plagiarism and focused on strategies to avoid it, with some work on paraphrasing and academic writing. Directed study: Further reading on academic writing. Week 7 Searching for information One hour session with each of the five groups of app 28 students. Content: Introduction and demonstrations of various resources and searching techniques, included hands-on activities, all focused around an upcoming professional studies assignment. PC Room.
  8. 8. Post-intervention surveys  Start of Semester 2 – follow-up input and a chance for reflection  Year 1 students - 69 completed  Teaching staff - 13 completed  Level of agreement with range of statements to assess confidence (students) and role (staff)  Qualitative feedback  Assignment moderation meeting – referencing ‘in action’
  9. 9. Emerging themes 1. impact and timing 2. role of academic staff and librarian 3. collaboration and integration 4. online learning and support 5. gaps in the teaching
  10. 10. Impact and timing (1) Overall – positive impact on student confidence “The teaching has definitely made a big difference because I didn’t have a clue about referencing before I came here and in lectures the lecturers concentrate on the subject content rather than how to actually write essays. The teaching definitely made a difference to my learning…” Teaching staff noted a positive difference in student work BUT… Moderation meeting: students were including sources and referencing them, but not necessarily integrating a range of different academic sources.
  11. 11. Impact and timing (2) “I learnt more about referencing from the second teaching input in February. I think this was because I had received feedback from my assignments which allowed me to ask Sarah more specific questions…I think this is a very difficult area to understand until the first assignments have been written.” “I thought the initial lessons with Sarah were informative, however I would have benefitted more had they not been in the initial weeks as there was so much information to take in…I think sessions closer to starting our initial assignment would have been more useful as it would have been fresher.” Keywords: optionality, point of need, overload, ‘learning by doing’
  12. 12. Role of academic staff and librarian My tutor (s) also provided information about referencing in their teaching: 18 agree/strongly agree, 40 disagree or strongly disagree. My tutor(s) also provided information about plagiarism in their teaching: 11 agree/strongly agree, 37 disagree/strongly disagree My tutor(s) also provided information about searching and accessing information in their teaching: 32 agree/strongly agree, 20 disagree/strongly disagree Librarian: proactive, focused, supportive “The focused sessions have meant all students have had the same input and the input has not been watered down by other course teaching demands…” “a lot of the tutors assume we know how to reference” Students are responsible for “[learning] to use what is available”, and “refreshing their skills so that they take responsibility for their own academic achievements” “Students need to have this input and the academic librarian seems to be a good person to do this.”
  13. 13. Collaboration and integration “[Reminder] sessions for staff? Sometimes students report that the feedback is not as consistent as they would like.” “Please could you run a session for the…research methods staff …so that we can support the students in their literature reviews.” “Perhaps … more input from tutors as some have different expectations to others.” [Student] Keywords: consistency, promotion, transition, communication Sustainability and knowledge-sharing? “[With] the right encouragement and help from [librarians]”, teaching staff might be better placed to “link those skills to purposeful information-seeking” (Pacey 1995: p.98).
  14. 14. Online learning and support  Emails, emails, and more emails  Insight: common questions and assignment topics  Pebblepad, ‘Education Network’, Blackboard VLE materials  Exposure to online tools and lack of engagement Keywords: quick, easy, familiarity
  15. 15. Gaps in the teaching Problematic referencing Research databases and journals Navigating the ‘confusing’ library and IT systems “I don’t know how to use [journals] in assignments…Is it just a process of elimination and searching for the right articles by hand?” Keywords: effective, critical, evaluation, selection, developmental “[User] education consisted far too much of a training in how to jump over hurdles which ought not to have been there in the first place” (Pacey 1995: p.96).
  16. 16. Demystifying academic writing? Academic writing: the “written synthesis” which represents and connects sources and concepts in a coherent and critical manner (Boscolo et al. 2007: p.423). Essay writing requires content; it cannot be taught generically (Lupton 2008).  Clear link between librarian role and academic role  Is a ‘study skills approach’ truly effective? (Barrie 2007; Haggis 2006; Lea & Street 1998)
  17. 17. New research cycles and progress 2011-12 and 2012-13: Persevered with four-week programme – changed order of content to reflect searching process, and removed/absorbed the scary plagiarism session Increased input for years 2 and 3 External examiner feedback and student tracking- No of 1st Class Degrees (10/11 9%, 11/12 13%, 12/13 16%) August 2013: Woo! The aims of the award are:  To support and encourage excellence in the application of research in practice  To disseminate the results of practitioner research and practice  To help practitioners to improve the quality of their work by example.
  18. 18. Time for an overhaul…  Input was still ‘added on’  Input was loaded into the first few weeks  Students and staff increasingly concerned with academic writing  Had not really addressed the staff support aspect  The tools improved: online support consolidated into LibGuides (Sep 2013) and we acquired….
  19. 19. 2013-14: Powerful collaboration?  Bitesize introductions to LibGuides, Summon etc – within mandatory modules, across all years  Formative tasks within modules, and assignment- related input – team teaching  Office hours and appointments  Case study for Implementing ANCIL (Wrathall 2012)  Students more proactive, requesting specific input  Working together to respond to common questions and problems – Working in Partnership (WiP); Primary Referencing Guide; marking grid
  20. 20. Librarian goes back to the books Attended one of the Student Services academic writing workshops Pecorari, D. (2013) Teaching to avoid plagiarism: how to promote good source use. Maidenhead, Open University Press. Turnaround: Foreground academic writing, and integrate Harvard referencing mechanics Sarah likes to share:
  21. 21. So what did we learn?  Add-on, front loaded, study skills-based sessions don’t work for us (transferability)  Point of need, relevance of input and consistency are crucial for ongoing development of students’ academic skills (‘information literacy’?)  Team teaching and collaborative research can lead to happy accidents and strong working relationships  We can work with the resources we’ve got…if we are willing to collaborate and share  Students are incredibly eager to tell you where you can improve and do more…if you encourage this collaboration from the start
  22. 22. References Barrie, S.C. (2007) A conceptual framework for the teaching and learning of generic graduate attributes. Studies in Higher Education. 32 (4), 439-458. Boscolo, P., Arfé, B., & Quarisa, M. (2007) Improving the quality of students' academic writing: an intervention study. Studies in Higher Education. 32 (4), 419 – 438. Haggis, T. (2006) Pedagogies for diversity: retaining critical challenge amidst fears of ‘dumbing down’. Studies in Higher Education. [Online] 31 (5), 521-535. Lea, M.R. & Street, B.V. (1998) Student writing in higher education: an academic literacies approach. Studies in Higher Education. [Online] 23 (2), 157-172. Lupton, M. (2008) Evidence, argument and social responsibility: first-year students’ experiences of information literacy when researching an essay. Higher Education Research & Development. 27 (4), 399-414. Norton, L. (2009) Action research in teaching & learning: a practical guide to conducting pedagogical research in universities. Abingdon, Routledge. Pacey, P. (1995) Teaching user education, learning information skills; or, Towards the self- explanatory library. The New Review of Academic Librarianship. 1, 95-103. Pecorari, D. (2013) Teaching to avoid plagiarism: how to promote good source use. Maidenhead, Open University Press. Vezzosi, M. (2006) Information literacy and action research: an overview and some reflections. New Library World. 107 (1226/1227), 286-301. Wrathall, K. (2012) Strategies for implementing A New Curriculum for Information Literacy. for Implementing ANCIL in Non-Cambridge HEIs v3.pdf